American civil rights pioneer settles dispute with rap group

Click to follow
The Independent US

Rosa Parks, the black civil rights pioneer who famously refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger, has settled her long-running legal dispute with the rap group OutKast.

Rosa Parks, the black civil rights pioneer who famously refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger, has settled her long-running legal dispute with the rap group OutKast.

As part of the settlement the group's label, Sony, will produce a tribute CD and broadcast a television special about Mrs Parks and her role in the civil rights struggle. An unspecified payment will also ensure that the needs of the 92-year-old, who suffers from dementia, will be met for the rest of her life. "I am relieved because I am happy for Mrs Parks," said Dennis Archer, her court-appointed guardian and a former mayor of Detroit.

The legal dispute relates to a hit song released in 1998 by OutKast called "Rosa Parks" which included the lyrics: "Ah ha, hush that fuss, Everybody move to the back of the bus." Mrs Parks' lawyers claimed in a lawsuit that the lyrics defamed her and traded on her name.

Mrs Parks became an icon of the civil rights movement when, in December 1955, she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Her subsequent arrest led to the black boycott of the city's bus system and is considered a seminal moment in the fight for black voting rights.

Some of Mrs Parks' relatives were opposed to the lawsuit and believed her lawyers were taking advantage of the fact she was not fully aware of what was happening. They said they did not believe Mrs Parks would have considered the song was offensive.

In addition to the television special and the CD, which will be released to mark the 50th anniversary of Mrs Parks' action, Sony and two of its subsidiary labels will pay for several educational programmes about the civil rights struggle. Under the terms of the settlement OutKast accepted no wrongdoing.

Comments